NRC assigns white rating to Browns Ferry nuclear units

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Aug. 14 that its staff has issued a violation to the Tennessee Valley Authority for an inspection finding at the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant and will increase oversight of Units 2 and 3.

Browns Ferry Unit 1 is already subject to increased NRC oversight due to an inspection finding from 2010.

“The ‘white’ finding for all three units was based on an NRC inspection that found plant operators and staff would not have been able to satisfactorily perform newly implemented procedures for safe plant shutdown,” the commission said. “The NRC identified procedural adherence deficiencies and determined that operators and staff were not adequately trained on the new procedures.”

This issue was discussed at a regulatory conference in Atlanta on July 25 where TVA provided the NRC staff additional information on analysis and corrective actions. After reviewing all the information, the NRC staff decided that the finding should be white.

The NRC uses a color-coded system which classifies findings as green, white, yellow or red in increasing order of safety significance. A white finding has low to moderate safety significance.

The 2010 inspection finding for Unit 1 was “red,” meaning it has high safety significance. That unit remains under increased NRC oversight due to the red finding.

TVA has informed the NRC that it is reviewing or revising the safety procedures, instructing operators and establishing a formal process for procedure changes to ensure that operators are appropriately trained, the commission noted. NRC inspectors will conduct a follow-up inspection to verify that the corrective actions have been effective and address the issue.

The three-unit Browns Ferry plant is located near Athens, Ala., about 32 miles west of Huntsville.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.